Story of the day is obviously Erick Dampier. I've only been able to watch the first half of the game so far, but Dampier's the obvious player of the game up to the point. He wasn't just better than Ben Wallace, he was WAY better. The pessimist might point out that Dampier has a bigger contract than Big Ben, but whatever.
Interesting Dampier stat from Sefko on the DMN blog.
Garcia's game recap focuses on Dampier.
Perhaps he wanted to get his All-Star campaign -- he's on the Western Conference ballot -- off and running. Ten of his points came on five rim-bending dunks. His three blocks nearly matched his total of five through the first six games.
Sefko reports that Avery Johnson won't be tinkering with the lineup until Howard comes back. Unfortunately, Sefko also says that Howard's ankle is still "puffy" and he hasn't stepped on the court yet.
Johnson will start the five players who have been with the team at least two full seasons - Dirk Nowitzki, Jerry Stackhouse, Jason Terry, Devin Harris and Erick Dampier.
He's settled on Anthony Johnson, Greg Buckner, Devean George and DeSagana Diop as the primary reserves, with rookie Moe Ager and Austin Croshere picking up minutes where they can.
Garcia has a mini-article about Stackhouse's assist totals.
Coach Avery Johnson has stressed Stackhouse's importance in getting teammates involved. The Mavs were 14-3 last season when Stackhouse had at least four assists.
Jan Hubbard has a good article about the "Rasheeed Wallace/Tim Duncan Rule" and thinks it shouldn't apply to coaches.